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Dec 10, 2013

Pot Holder - beaded swirl centre flower

This is my first post in my blog using beaded crochet. Though I have done few similar works which were gifted away, they were done very long back. this is the first beaded crochet work that is photographed by me.

This interesting pattern I came across while surfing for some other project. When I search for something I get distracted by so many eye catching interesting crochet patterns which I normally collect in my project library. This is one such pattern the link of which is here



Dec 3, 2013

Tomato storage - freeze - easy to grate

With tomato prices still on higher side, I minised the use of tomato to recipes and they do come out well without it. Wherever tanginess is necessary, I just add a bit of amchur (dried mango) powder.

Refrigerating tomatoes extends its life to some extent.  Freezing extends it further. I cut them into halves and freeze them either in a plastic container or in a ziplock bag. Whenever required, I grate them and use.

Grating a frozen tomato is so easyyyyyyyyyy!!!! you can do that in a jiffy and use it for sambar, rasam, curries, rice and wherever required in special gravies. Infact I enjoy grating them as the frozen ones are so crisp. Less messy too.




Nov 18, 2013

Pori Urundai (Sweet puffed rice balls) for Karthigai Deepam

A crunchy sweet shaped into balls made specially as a offering to Lord Muruga (Karthik) on the day of Thiru Karthikai. But it makes a good snack at anytime of the year.



You can use any variety of puffed rice viz., avil pori, nel pori, normal pori.

avil pori
Nel Pori



pori (nomal one)

















Ingredients :-

Puffed Rice - 4 cups
Jaggery - 1 Cup
Coconut - 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
Cardamom - 4 Nos.
Dry Ginger Powder - 1 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

Preparation:-


  • The ratio of puffed rice to jaggery is 4 : 1 (Take a measure of jaggery which is 1/4th of the puffed rice)
  • Small preparations will ease the process. Put the puffed rice in a sieve to get rid of sand or small stones & black over roasted particles and put it on a plate & clean them.
  • Break a coconut (use only fresh ones). Make thin slices and chop them thinly. 
  • Powder the cardamom and Dry ginger.
  • Grate / slice with knife, the jaggery, melt it and strain it to remove impurities / sand particles.
  • In a small bowl or plate, pour little water & keep ready (to check consistency of jaggery)
  • Making the preparation & keeping them handy will ease the process.

Procedure :-






  •  In a Kadai, pour the melted & filtered Jaggery water, Chopped coconut and boil till it becomes thick & froth well. Drop a little of that in the water kept in a bowl. Take it out with your finger and roll it. If you are able to shape it round like a ball that is the perfect stage. If you throw it on a plate, it will make a sound. Turn off the flame.
  • Add Dry Ginger Powder, Cardamom Powder, mix well
  • Add the puffed rice (pori), mix well and let it stand for two minutes (to cool down a bit).
  • Start dividing them into equal portion. If it sticks to your palm, just moisten your palm with just few drops of water (or dip your finger tip in water and spread it to you palm) and start doing. don't dampen just moist.
  • Take out each portion and shape them into round balls (at this stage too, you may moisten your hands)
  • To further tighten the balls, grease your fingers & palm with ghee and tighten them once again. 
  • Perfect pori urundai (sweet puffed rice balls) is ready!
  • Store them in an air tight container.
Brought the karthigai Deepam Prashad for you


Nov 17, 2013

Karthigai Deepam

This festival of lights in southern india falls in the karthik month & the day in which karthik star falls and full moon day coincides.  In Northern india it is celebrated as Karthik Purnima / Dev Diwali. In southern India it is known as 'Karthigai Deepam'.

Sharing with you this year's celebration.



Appam, Pori - brought the prashad for you. Adai missing as I made only limited quantity and it's all vanished into our stomach before I could get you a glimpse of it.     

Put the traditional Maakolam using wet rice flour.





May this festival of lights bring more prosperity, good health and happiness into your life.

Best Wishes

Nov 9, 2013

Cuckoo - Male & Female koyel at breakfast hour

Everyday when rice is kept for crows, other birds and animals do visit to take their share viz., squirrels, pigeons, cuckoos, sparrows and parrots. During morning hours for few days I visited the place everyday to make them tolerate my presence. Then finally one day I sat patiently with my camera and with minimal movement able to capture these photos. Because of still posture for long time, my hands and legs pained but all is for a worthy shot though my humble camera could give only this much zoom.

Cuckoos are shy birds. Male cuckoos are black in colour and they are the ones who make long sweet calls. They are jet black in colour and have red eyes. Cuckoo and crow pheasant fall in same family.



 Female cuckoos have spots and brown in colour and gives out short and rapid calls. They don't build nest but lays eggs in a crow's nest. The male cuckoo divert the crows by making them come behind it while the female lays the eggs.



This female cuckoo is bolder than its counterparts and came boldly to have its share of rice.

Other winged friends..... couldn't share the picture of parrot as it got erased by mistake :-(



Nov 6, 2013

Crochet Elusive Rose Doily



Came across this interesting doily in a group for crocheters and with the help of one of the crocheters could download the pattern from http://www.freepatterns.com. Search for "Elusive Blue Rose Doily".


Happy Crocheting


Nov 5, 2013

Deepavali / Diwali - Festival of lights

Diwali / Deepavali  meaning 'Row of Lamps' is also known as Festival of lights - is celebrated during the tamizh month of  'aipasi' (14th day - naraka chathurdasi) and amavasya. 




People get up early in the morning (before sunrise) and take oil bath, wear new dress, lighting as many oil lamps as possible, perform puja. Then sweets & savouries are distributed. This is the only day when one can take oil bath at such an early morning hours.  The sweet and savoury making rituals start well before and completes just in time of the festival.

The history behind this festival is different in the north and south india though both symbolise the victory of good over the evil. In south India, it is considered as the day when the demon Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna and during his death Lord Krishna granted his boon that the day be celebrated with valour. 

In northern India this festival is celebrated for four to five days starting with Dhanteras (the day people invite lakshmi by purcahsing gold and do puja after bringing home the Gold). The day falls on 18th day after Dusserah. Followed by Diwali, New year and Bhaituj (the day when sisters invite their brother home, pray for their wellbeing conducting pooja and offer them a feast). The navratri is considered to be the war period between Lord Rama and the demon Ravana. The 9th days resembles the victory of Lord Rama. The festival of deepavali is considered to be the day when victorious Rama returned Ayodhya. Hence Ram leela is celebrated widely on this day, in nortern india. An effigy of Ravana is made and a person dressed like Sri Rama will set the effigy of Ravan in fire by firing a burning arrow.

Ramlila - image got thru google search


Dhanteras is also known as Dhanvantri Triodasi.As name suggests it is observed during Trayodashi Tithi of Krishna Paksha (13th day). The day is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Dhanvantari, the teacher and the father of Ayurveda. Lord Dhanvantari is the physician of Gods and considered one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

In the olden days festivals gives an earning opportunity to the locals in the form of various items used for pooja etc. For diwali earthern lamps and small earthern pots (for puja) are used. 

The market gets colourful on the arrival of the festival with vendors selling colour powders known as 'rangoli' powders (used to draw designs to decorate doorsteps), earthern pots, lamps and various other festive things.  Now-a-days we can see many wax lamps coming in different decorated diyas (lamps).

Image courtesy : google search



Rangoli :- a colourful design decoration drawn near door steps
















But sadly the festival of lights is turning into festival of crackers and sweets. Focus is going off from traditional oil lamps to electrical lights.




fireworks


People hang kanthil (chandlier) of different colours with an electrical bulb inside to decorate their windows / balcony to mark the sign of the oncoming festival.  


All the celebrations comes to an end on the day of Bhaituj when sisters invite brothers to their home, do padh puja, offer them sumptuous feast and get their blessings. They pray for the well being of their brothers. This tradtional practice increase the bonding between the sister (s) and brother (s) and also an opportunity for a mini family get -together.

Every festival is celebrated to bring people together in the family as well as in the community. A nice traditiona passed on by our ancestors through generations. It is very important to understand the essence and celebrate the festival. So let us pass that knowledge to our next generation and may this year bring you more prosperity, peace, health and happiness to you and your family.


Oct 31, 2013

Ginger n Chilli Thattai

Thattai - an yummy southindian snack....Thought of giving it a hand as I never attempted this dish though my mother and aunts make them. As only sweet lovers are there here, i hardly make savouries except the festival days. So with the oncoming diwali, i thought why not give it a hand instead of the regular ribbon pakoda etc.

The thattais were given a ginger n green chilli flavour and they came out yummy as well as crispy though didn't get the perfect round shape. 





Thattai making becomes easy if you have things in hand and I was fortunate when I checked my stock that I had processed rice flour. In a Jiffy, i am into my kitchen, all eager to make the thattais.

This is what you will need :-

  1. Processed Rice Flour - 1 cup
  2. Besan (gram flour) - 1 tbsp
  3. Soaked chana dal - 1 tbsp (if you are in a hurry, can use roasted groundnut instead)
  4. White sesame seeds - 1 tsp
  5. Ginger - 1" piece
  6. Green chilli - 2 Nos.
  7. Curry Leaves - 6 Nos.
  8. Asafoetida powder - 1/4 tsp
  9. Ghee - 2 tsp
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Water to knead the dough
  12. Oil for frying


Procedure :-

  • If you are going to use chana dal, soak them for 2 hours. Drain and keep side.
  • Grind Green Chillies, Ginger and Curry leaves into a coasrse form (without adding water)
  • In a mixing bowl, add the Rice flour, Gram flour, Salt, Sesame seeds, ground paste, soaked chana dal / roasted groundnut, asafoetida powder, ghee. Mix well.

  • Sprinkle water little by little and prepare a hard dough.
  • Make small equal balls out of the dough
  • You can flatten  it on a clean cloth or use a plastic sheet greased with little oil.
  • Keep two tsp of water in a small plate and keep touching (just enough water) it to pat  and shape the thattais. But see to that the thattais are not dampened. Touch just enough water to pat the thattais.
  • Heat oil in a wok and put them one by one in a batch so that they don't curl but remain flat.
  • Fry both sides till they turn crispy (This thattai will be pale golden in colour as we use rice flour) hence check the bubbles, if it fades, lift it in the spatula you will feel the crispy sound it makes.  
  • Thattais are now perfect to drain. Remove them from oil and put on an absorbent paper.
  • In a clean air tight container, put some paper on the base and arrange the thattais over it and store it..
  • Yummy crispy flavourful thattai is ready!

Oct 30, 2013

Ivy Gourd Buttermilk / கோவை மோர்

Buttermilk is always an excellent body cooler and thirst quencher. Along with its good properties added the goodness of ivry gourd to make it a stomach cooler too.



Ivy Gourd (english), Tondli (Marathi), Kovai Kaai (Tamizh)
  
The plant as a whole is used for medicinal purposes in Indian Medicine. Ivy gourd is good in controlling sugar level, cures mouth ulcer, stomach ulcer when used in raw form. This humble vegetable which grows in abundance in the wild and on fences can also control heavy bleeding in woman during the monthly cycle. It also controls the intestinal worms.  

Let's get  into the Kovai Express! The preparation is very simple and easy. To make one serving you will need :-

  1. Buttermilk - 1 Glass
  2. Ivry Gourd - 4 Nos
  3. Curry Leaves - 3 Nos
  4. Black salt to taste 

  • Wash and clean ivy gourd. chop into cubes.
  • In a blender throw the cut cubes, curry leaves, black salt and little buttermilk and blend into a nice paste.
  • Mix in remaining buttermilk and pour into a serving glass
  • Black salt is good for medicinal purposes. You may use instead, normal table salt.
  •  Yummy summer cooler - Ivy Gourd Buttermilk is ready to be relished! 




Oct 3, 2013

Round Ruffled Doily

This can be used as a hot pad, fruitbasket holder, flower pot holder etc.

Did this for a CAL in "Passionate About Crochet" Group and really enjoyed doing this. A trial and error method but finally able to make it.










Sep 24, 2013

Bhopla Sabzi / Pumpkin Dry Curry

A simple recipe with the humble Pumpkin / Bhopla / Kadhdhu / Maththan / manjal poosani / parangikai




Ingredients :

  1. Pumpkin - 750 gm
  2. Coconut Oil - 1 tbsp
  3. Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  4. Garlic pods - 3 nos (big)
  5. Ginger - 2" piece
  6. Curry Leaves - 5 nos.
  7. Dried Red Chilli - 1 No. (pandi mirch)
  8. Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch
  9.  Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  10. Red chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
  11. Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp
  12. Cumin powder - less than 1/4 tsp
  13. Grated coconut - 1 tbsp (optoinal)
  14. Salt to taste
 Procedure :

  • Wash, peel and dice the pumpkin into cubes
  • Crush the garlic pods and ginger using a pestle / stone
  • Wash and pat dry the curry leaves
  •  Heat oil in a pan, Add Cumin seeds. when they start splutter, add crushed ginger and garlic, curry leaves and saute till raw smell goes. 
  • Add a pinch of asafoetida powder, coriander powder and cumin powder, fry for 30 seconds.
  •  Throw in the pumpkin cubes 
  • Add Turmeric powder, Red Chilli Powder, Salt. Mix well.
  •  Keep it covered and cook, Mix in between gently to prevent sticking to the pan.
  •  When the cubes are tender, add grated coconut at this stage in raw or roasted form. I didn't use coconut today so presented the simplest form of it here :-)
  • The subzi is ready to be relished with Chapathi / rice / curd rice 

Sep 13, 2013

Kurukku Kaalan

A tongue tickling recipe from God's Own Country which will make you crave for more and  more. This is one of the items served during a Onam Feast. Sour curd is used and it is boiled and reduced till thick. Hence the name kurukku  kaalan (kurukku - reduced). Whether it is milk or curd / buttermilk, when reduced they make the dish even more aromatic and interesting in taste.



In the olden days, left over curd is collected in a separate vessel which turns sour and then used for this recipe.  Kachchati (veseel made out of stone) is used to prepare it. The love & care our mothers & grandmas took in preparing it gives it a heavenly taste. That taste is unbeatable and is missing in today's kaalan made on stove top using stainless steel vessels mm....................Mira going nostalgic!

The way the Kaalan making process was described by the elders in the family always make my mouth water and crave to have some immediately right from my childhood days!

Let's get into kaalan making!

Vegetables that can be used for this recipe :- Raw Banana, Elephant Yam, Ashgourd (Kachcha kela / suran / white bhopla) [Vazhakka, Chenai, Elavan] . You may use any one or combo of all. I used Elephant yam for this recipe.

Ingredients :-

  1. Elephant Yam - 1 cup
  2. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  3. Sour Beaten curd - 2.5 cup
  4. Grated coconut - 3/4 cup
  5. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  6. Peppercorn - 1 tsp
  7. Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
  8. Green chillies - 2 nos (or as preferred)
  9. Dried Red Chillies - 2 Nos.
  10. Curry Leaves - two sprigs
  11. Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
  12. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Procedure :

  • Peel and cut the yam into cubes
  •  Wash well to remove any sand particle that may remain 
  • Transfer to a thick bottomed cooking vessel
  •  Beat the sour curd well and keep ready
  • Dry roast fenugreek seeds tilll they release nice aroma. 
  • Cut the dry red chillies into two (or you may retain it whole)
  •  Grind together Grated Coconut, roasted fenugreek seeds, Green Chillies, Black Peppercorns and 6-7 nos. curry leaves together into a nice & thick paste adding little water. 

  • Use medium to slow flame in the cooking process which will give good taste to the dish.

  • To the yam, add turmeric powder, salt and water that is enough to submerge the yam cubes and cook till the water dries up.
  • Now add the beaten curd and cook on low flame and keep stirring in between. Cook till the curd level is reduced and the gravy becomes thick.
  • At this stage, add the ground coconut masala, adjust the salt and mix well. Bring to boil till foam forms on top.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Tempering :- Heat coconut oil, add Mustard seeds. When the seeds starts spluttering, add dried red chillies, 8 nos. curry leaves and add this to the prepared kurukku kaalan.
 Yummy kurkku Kaalan is ready!


This is served as a side dish for feasts (sadhya) but can also be mixed with plain rice and had. I enjoy it even with dosai and chapathis. So why wait for special feast time, make and enjoy it at any time of the year like me :-)

No season or reason for a foodie to enjoy good food!

Aug 31, 2013

Janmashtami / Krishna Jayanthi Prashad

Hope you all celebrated Janmashtami 2013 with vigour.

Sharing with you the Janmashtami Darshan and Prashad.







Aug 27, 2013

Cheedai / Seedai tips - prevent explosion

Janmashtami special cheedai / seedai :-

How to make a cheedai making 'terror' into a 'pleasure'? i.e. How to prevent cheedai / seedai from exploding? Here are few tips which I practice and makes my cheedai making successful everytime right from first time.

  1. Seive the flour well.
  2. Very lightly roast the flour
  3. Roast the sesame seeds till they pop
  4. Never shape it to a perfect round. Slightly flatten on both sides or in an imperfect round shape.
  5. See that the surface is smooth (without cracks)
  6. Keep less oil and put more cheedai / seedai balls

100% if you follow the above, it will not explode. If you still are left with some fear..... no need to wear a helmet. Just keep a perfect lid handy and partly cover the kadai (not fully) to your side.  don't worry, after two batches, you will get the confidence to fry it without the lid. :-)





May your life be crisp like a cheedai, sweet like the sweet flattened rice and smooth like the butter. May the lord fill your life with his blessings.



Wish you all a happy Janmashtami

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